Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Closer Look at "TRUST"

We are so excited to be a part of the “Declaration of You – Blog Lovin’ Tour” book launch!. 

Authors Jessica Swift and Michelle Ward invited hundreds of bloggers (check it out here to share their thoughts on topics that include:

Uniquity (yes it’s a word!)


Karen and I decided to join the tour and talk about TRUST
All of our Engaging Inner Wisdom posts address trust in one form or another, but a few speak more specifically to trust than others - "Honoring Your Process"

Today's post takes a closer look at "trust"
After a lot of reflection, free writing, pondering, and sleeping on the concept, I came to my own personal awareness around trust. First off, there are three distinct life areas where trust spreads its influence:
The personal realm – trusting self
The relational realm – trusting others
The communal realm – trusting large groups, governments, systems etc.

My pondering lead me to trust’s complete opposite, “distrust” – given recent world events – rampant war, neighbors who kidnap and hold people for years, child sex trafficking, Mr. Snowden’s leak about our government spying on us, and many other horrible events, it’s no wonder that distrust abounds.

If within the world around us we feel distrustful, and rightly so, then how in our personal world are we supposed to begin to trust? Can we count on ourselves? Can we count on others? What about counting on our close relationships? More importantly, can we cultivate trust, and if so, how?

In truth, I hadn’t thought about any of this prior to taking on the “Trust” topic, but I’m glad I did. Considering this topic helped me recognize that trust has to start at the personal level, move into relationships and then, once I cultivate trust and demonstrate that cultivation, perhaps it will spread to others and eventually to institutions, large groups, and even governments; after all, each of these groups is made up of individuals who have a choice to be trustworthy, or not.

Let’s begin by Trusting Ourselves
It’s so easy to not trust oneself. If we were to rely solely on the mass media marketing that bombards us on a daily basis, we would “know” that we don’t “know anything” – that is to say, all the advertisers seem to “know” better than we do, and they have a commentary about it al, so do talk show hosts, the evening news, Oprah Winfrey, Deepok Chopra, Luise Hay and all the other self-proclaimed “gurus” out there that tell us how we “should be” leading our lives*. Not to say that there isn’t relevant information, and that some of these individuals have the best of intentions, but when aggregated as a whole, the message is “trust us, because we are the experts, and you are not”.

It’s no wonder that many people experience self-doubt and question if they are on the right path, or are afraid to put their art into the world, or take the first step toward living a fulfilling life. Many people avoid situations in which they could be wrong, get embarrassed, make a mistake, etc.

We’ve got to shake this off and start listening internally to the voice that gently screams, repeatedly urging us to “do this”, or “try this”, or “take a risk”.  We need to know that our inner wisdom is awesome! We can, and should in my opinion, trust our intuition, trust our gut, listen to the messages that come to us throughout the day. We must count on ourselves to be our own advocate. If not you, then who?

Trusting Others 
Trusting others can also be tough. How many times have you trusted someone, and they’ve fallen short, not only of your expectations, but maybe they even intentionally “burned” you. ”Wow, that came out of left field,” you say to yourself. It’s amazing how knowingly, and unknowingly, people can erode our trust in them, and ultimately in others.

When we experience painful situations in which someone breaks our trust, we remember these situations in relation to new experiences, and may therefore act with greater caution, thus limiting ourselves and putting “distrust” onto others who do not warrant it. This is apparent in love-life situations, racial situations, work-related experiences, and opportunities for risk-taking as a means of personal growth and development.

Trusting others requires becoming vulnerable, and suggests that we depend on another to have our best interests at heart. Truthfully, we must continually open ourselves up and trust others, even if untrustworthy people have impacted us in the past. If we are listening to ourselves, and trusting ourselves, then the choices we make around others will most probably reflect our good judgment and our deep knowing.

Communal trust

Here is where I got stuck. What I repeatedly returned to was that only by modeling trust, by being trustworthy ourselves, could our institutions begin to change. Institutions, communities, societies, etc. are all made up of individuals – it is the quality, character and trustworthiness of these individuals that define the entities. Trusting in a better world may be utopian, but it inspires people to become whistle-blowers, to fight for what is right, to be honorable, and to speak their own personal truth – even if in doing so one risks ridicule, their freedom, and maybe even their life.

Trust is deep. Trust is profound. Trust is tantamount to so many other feelings. Without it, we wouldn’t move forward personally, we wouldn’t engage in meaningful relationships, and our world would experience even worse tragedy.

As you cultivate trust it compounds, in other words, trust begets trust. You trust yourself, you are trustworthy, others trust you, you trust them, and so on.

Engaging Your Inner Wisdom: Cultivate trust

Personal Trust –
Begin to listen inwardly, become silent and still, so that you can hear your own truth.
Act on your “gut feelings” – whenever possible and appropriate.
Keep your promises to yourself! Jennifer Louden, author of "The Women’s Retreat Book” says,
"Self-trust grows from a history of promises made and kept."
Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

Relational Trust –
Be trustworthy – model this so that others will be trustworthy too.
Check out the “Four Agreements” by Don Miquel Ruiz – 1.) “be impeccable with your word”, 2.) “don’t take anything personally”, 3.) “don’t make assumptions”, and 4.) “always do your best”.

Communal Trust –
Get to know your neighbors – create a neighborhood block party.
Walk or bikeride in your community.
Shop locally, and get to know your “mom and pop” vendors.
Volunteer for a local project like a food pantry, community garden, or sitting on the board of a local non-profit doing work that benefits the community.

“The Declaration of You, published by North Light Craft Books and available now, gives readers all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! Find more info and order the book at

“We can’t wait to be a part of The Declaration of You’s Facebook party this Friday at 9:30-10a PST/11:30a-12p CST/12:30-1p EST. We’ll be chatting in real time about TRUST over at

Hope you can join us!”
Make a point of liking
and Art and Soul Lab at

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Importance of Honoring Your Process

I am grateful to Karen, my blog partner, for writing about the importance of "taking time for our passion". Her writing coupled with my blog post on "creative process need processing?" and coming across something I wrote several months ago, prompted today's topic: honoring your process.

I easily get sucked into the "shoulds" and "have-to's" -  I find that rather than being competitive, I am comparative - which I think might be worse. I expect that I "should be" just like everyone else, moving at their pace, in their time, and in their way. If I am not successful with my objectives, then I have missed the mark, failed somewhere, am not as good as the other person next to me. When learning something new, I berate myself if I don't "get it" immediately. phew...gnarly critic!

Re-reading what I wrote several months ago makes me question the beliefs I mention above. I had been working on a new business prospect (ongoing) and thinking about my creative process; I wrote the following:
"I suppose something I realize about my process, and frankly, I rarely accommodate, is that it takes me a while to decide on a trajectory. For example, when I made the white spiral piece, it took forever to decide and design, so too did the metal, gold piece and the umbrella. I seem to need time to ruminate, to allow. I feel like the world moves way faster than me. With the mundane, I can easily keep up, but when it comes time to listen to my inner voice, that takes time. Things need to simmer and stew. I need time to consider and contemplate. It is critical that I allow myself that time. No need to compare, or compete, or keep up. I must allow myself to move at my pace, and be ok with it."
It is easy to say all this, but it is so much more difficult to embrace and apply.

I recently took an assemblage class, and experienced a tremendous amount of anxiety because we were supposed to finish building a piece within the duration of the class. I was freaked out! I hadn't even decided on which materials I wanted to use, let alone figured out how to put them all together. Moreover, I hadn't really thought about what I was getting myself into when I signed up for the class. It is so much fun to gather materials and imagine the possibility, and usually, I don't take the time to consider the work involved; all the more reason to embrace taking time!

This brings me to Karen's post. Karen, I embrace your challenge of "taking time for your passion", and the way I intend to do it is by taking time throughout my weeks to reflect, let things stew and see what comes up. Perhaps I will do more stream of consciousness writing on specific topics. Maybe I will walk the labyrinth with a question concerning a project I am working on. Perhaps I will just sit and be. Now mind you, I already do morning pages, and meditate; what I am suggesting is different. It's different because it will be topic specific, intentional.

I may or may not choose to share my progress every month. I may just wait until the autumnal equinox to let you know the outcome. I haven't decided yet, I need time to let it swirl around in my brain for a bit before I figure out which way I want to go with, either way though, you will eventually find out.

Practice Engaging Your Inner Wisdom: What about you? Do you move more slowly, needing time for things to settle in before making a decision? Do you like to think about the myriad possibilities before jumping in? How do you work? Perhaps you could take time to write about what works, and doesn't work for you. Do you do Morning Pages? Morning pages are Julie Cameron's (author of the Artist's Way) prescription for emptying ourselves, so that we have room to fill ourselves. She encourages that you write 3, one-sided pages a day, upon waking - stream of consciousness, don't lift your hand from the page, keep writing even if you don't know what to say pages - these shouldn't take more than 15 minutes. You might want to ask yourself a question before you start writing. Please let me know what you think, how you process, and what you're up to. It helps me with my experiences!

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Taking Time for Your Passion

Say, "Yes!" to your passion!
How often do you engage your passion?

For way too long, I have largely ignored mine - writing - but that all changes now.  In her last post, Chantel talked about the solstice as a time of abundant energy and vibrance when we can make bold moves and take giant leaps.

I, for one, am taking her up on the idea and I hope you will join me.  I plan to channel this high energy time into my writing passion using the simple formula I've been using for my blog, The Wonder of Runes, since last fall.  I have committed three hours one morning a week to writing and sharing my blog with others and, since that time, it has flourished and I am amazed and grateful to see the interest in and response to my efforts.

Yeah, nice idea.  Why is this important?  What if I'm just too busy with other things to do anything about my passion?  I have to work, ya know.

When you focus all your energy on things that simply suck the energy out of you, you are draining yourself.  Engaging in your passion is one way to refuel or replenish that energy.  I write for a living, but much of that entails writing things for other people or editing their work.  While I enjoy it, it is not the same as the three hours I spend writing my blog entries for The Wonder of Runes.

Therefore, between now and the autumnal equinox on September 22nd, I plan to dedicate a similar amount of time, like that which I dedicate to my blog, to different writing projects each weekday and there is no shortage of supply.

I write my blog on Mondays and that will not change.  Making that commitment is one of the best things I've done for myself in recent years.  This a a wonderful example of the benefits of engaging your passion.  Not only has it paid off for me personally, but professionally as well.  And now it serves as the formula to expand that benefit and write more.

Tuesdays will be dedicated to writing the sequel to my novel, The Son of Nine Sisters.  I began writing it last November as part of the NaNoWriMo challenge, but haven't really touched it since.  Sure, I've gone over it a hundred times in my head, thinking through details, making links, and solidifying characters and story lines, but I'm not sure I've written a word in it this year.  Since I want the first draft completed around the autumnal equinox, I had better get a move on.  So, Tuesdays for my sequel.

Once I published my novel, my daughter decided she wanted to write a book too, so we are working on one together, a young readers series about time travel.  The first book draft is literally about 500 words from being finished, but it is a series, so we need to write at least more and the synopsis for a couple beyond that.  That ought to keep me busy on Wednesday mornings.

Of course, there is little point in writing all these books if I don't do any marketing.  Even though it's not my favorite thing to do, I will spend Thursdays marketing both my creative writing and professional writing services.

Friday is for another, much newer passion, gardening.  You may recall my last post was about my new love of growing food.  Yes, this is the first and trial year, but I've already learned a few things and I can't wait to get back and dig in literally and figuratively.  And, I have to say, I am amazed how engaging with Earth helps clear my mind and accelerate my creative and critical thinking, a grea way to come up with or clarify story ideas.

Ah, now that's the way to spend a week.

I don't have time to dedicate three hours each morning to my passion.  Are you crazy?  I have a job and I have to clean the house and shuttle the kids and go grocery shopping, and do the laundry.

I'm not suggesting you follow my model exactly.  I am suggesting that, as one way to engage your inner wisdom and refuel yourself that you take time for your passion once a week.  The only catch is that you have to set a dedicated time to do it and stick to it until the equinox.  You can make excuses or make time.  Which will it be?

I would love to have you join me in this solstice to equinox quest, especially my fellow writers.  We can spend a morning writing together.  To that end, here is your challenge:

Practice Engaging Your Inner Wisdom:  Take time or, more specifically, arrange a set time once a week to engage your passion.  Tell me what it is.  Share your experience with me.  Are you an artist?  Show me some of your work?  A fellow writer?  Share an excerpt or poem.  Are you spending time in nature?  Take some pictures to show us.  Email me a sample of whatever you do and I will dedicate a blog post or two (or however many it takes) to sharing your experience with our readers.  I look forward to making this journey with you.

For those of you still questioning whether you have time to spend engaging your passion, how about this?  All you have to do is monitor me.  You can check into this blog over he next three months to see what progress I've made or, you can follow Engaging Inner Wisdom on facebook and see regular updates there.  That way, you can decide whether it was worth it for me to take this time or not.  Maybe that will inspire you to take time for yours.